"Disillusionment Begins"- The Origins of Project 500

The 500 Program and the Incidents at the Union

Following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in April 1968, the University of Illinois decided to bring in 500 "disadvantaged" students. They came from various places across the country including Chicago, Philadelphia, Watts, and Birmingham. These students were promised a number of things regarding financial aid and housing. When students felt the university was not fulfilling its promises, they began questioning the administration. The university dispensed lower amounts of loan money than originally promised and the possibility of having to work instead of focusing solely on school was a problem. After their arrival, Project 500 students were placed in the Illinois Street Residence Hall, but as the school year came closer many were moved into small rooms and lounges, including ones that were falling apart. Protests over these broken promises culminated with the events of September 9, 1968.

What Were They Thinking?
"Disillusionment Begins"- The Origins of Project 500